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Stress hormones and sleep
#1
Disclaimer: This post is entirely speculative, so if you're looking for real answers to a real problem you might not find any.

Since discovering that I have central as well as obstructive apnea, but I don't have any discernible heart or neurological problems that might cause the CAs, I've been digging for insight on what might be causing this "idiopathic" central apnea. The main thing I've learned is that this is currently not well understood.

I'm a borderline obese 64 year-old man, i.e., my BMI is just over 30. I have a tendency toward hypertension and until recently took medication for it. In the past year, after switching to a whole food plant based (very low fat) diet, I've lost about 20 pounds, but I have to say the weight came off very slowly. As you can see, that's less than two pounds a month.

My visible obesity type is: I carry most of my excess weigh in my abdomen, under the muscle, not in rolls on the outside. This is thought to be the most dangerous pattern, because of the pressure on the heart and other organs. This is sometimes called the "Adrenal body type," meaning that it's the body type of people who tend to have elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol levels also cause hypertension.

Another clue: On several occasions I've tried fasting. Unlike most people, on the second day of fasting I experienced a dangerous spike in blood pressure, high enough to force me to stop the fast. This is also a sign of an exaggerated cortisol/adrenal response to a drop in available fuel.

Poor sleep can cause chronic elevated cortisol. In fact, this is one main mechanism by which sleep disorder cause health problems. But my theory is that this is one of those two-way feedback systems. Elevated cortisol can also cause sleep disturbances. Whether it can cause CAs in particular is unclear, but I think it's an interesting possibility.

As I say, I've lost weight, slowly, and my BP has come down to acceptable, if not ideal, levels. It was 124/79 this morning, without medication.

In my browsing, I found this, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27...-and-sleep which goes into some depth on the subject. I'm starting to experiment with "adaptogen" supplements, i.e., herbs alleged to help regulate cortisol etc. It's too soon to draw any conclusions but I just though I'd post in case anyone's interested. I'm not expecting an apnea cure, but I'm hoping for perhaps a generally improved quality of sleep, and life.
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#2
Keep us posted. I feel like I am in the same boat. Cpap hasn't really improved my sleep in 2 years. Hoping for answers
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#3
(08-31-2017, 10:41 AM)tmoody Wrote: I'm starting to experiment with "adaptogen" supplements, i.e., herbs alleged to help regulate cortisol etc. It's too soon to draw any conclusions but I just though I'd post in case anyone's interested. I'm not expecting an apnea cure, but I'm hoping for perhaps a generally improved quality of sleep, and life.

Might I suggest that, prior to experimenting with supplements, that you consult a competent endocrinologist and schedule periodic blood panels.

Some people are more sensitive than others to therapeutic agents contained in various supplements -- although in most cases, commercial supplements may contain only a trace of an "advertisable" therapeutic agent and can  be relatively worthless. '

One must also consider the number of variables in your experimentation and the time required to see any changes. Be careful of confusing correlation with causation. You may also wish to read https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2702780/ Especially the section "Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Dysfunction as a Causal Intermediate."

I would be most interested in the results of your experiments, so keep posting.

Best of luck.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
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#4
That is good advice. A year and some ago, I tried to treat my depression using supplements.  It worked really well for about a year.  I was doing fine.  But I did too little in-depth research and eventually created an imbalance that sent me back to anti-depressents.  Adjusting things like this in your body is very, very complex.  There are many multi-way interactions.  The shifts can happen slowly.  Research carefully and test often.

Increased Cortisol levels can provoke weight gain.  See The Obesity Code by Jason Fung.  We have learned a lot in the last ten years, but there is much more to learn.
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#5
This is my update, after eleven days of "adaptogen" supplementation. Thanks to those who contributed to the thread.

I've left my ASV settings alone since starting this on 8/27. I'm aware that many supplements do not contain what they claim on the label, but it is possible to research this. ConsumerLab tests many supplements. As a general rule, it's a good idea to cycle on and off herbal supplements, no matter what they are.

Anyway, I can report that my AHI has continued to drop and for the past few weeks has been the lowest I've ever seen since I started getting data two years ago. Since 8/27 my three highest readings were 2.6, 2.3, and 1.5. I had two nights at or near 1.0 and the rest have all been below 1.0. DreamMapper reports my two-week average as 1.0. Obviously I can't know whether these results are due to the supplement; they could be due to the prior changes in machine settings (dropping backup rate to 7 from auto and PSmin from .5 to 0) settling in. But given the desirability of cycling off herbal supplements occasionally, I'll be doing that next week and observing whether there's any change. I'm going to leave machine settings alone for a while.
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#6
(09-11-2017, 11:59 AM)tmoody Wrote: This is my update, after eleven days of "adaptogen" supplementation. Thanks to those who contributed to the thread.

I've left my ASV settings alone since starting this on 8/27. I'm aware that many supplements do not contain what they claim on the label, but it is possible to research this. ConsumerLab tests many supplements. As a general rule, it's a good idea to cycle on and off herbal supplements, no matter what they are.

Anyway, I can report that my AHI has continued to drop and for the past few weeks has been the lowest I've ever seen since I started getting data two years ago. Since 8/27 my three highest readings were 2.6, 2.3, and 1.5. I had two nights at or near 1.0 and the rest have all been below 1.0. DreamMapper reports my two-week average as 1.0. Obviously I can't know whether these results are due to the supplement; they could be due to the prior changes in machine settings (dropping backup rate to 7 from auto and PSmin from .5 to 0) settling in. But given the desirability of cycling off herbal supplements occasionally, I'll be doing that next week and observing whether there's any change. I'm going to leave machine settings alone for a while.

Thanks for the update. Glad to hear your experiment seems to be working. Keep up the reporting.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
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#7
I'm all for the human Guinea pig that carefully documents their experiment so we all can benefit. Keep up the good work.
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#8
Good luck with the weight loss, that's one of the most important things you can do to yourself for your whole health. Don't give up.

As you see, durable and healthy weight loss doesn't come from fasting, it comes from eating healthy foods in reasonably sized meals with some exercise, and good sleep.

Good luck with the whole process.
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#9
Update: As indicated in a previous post in this thread, I've cycled off the herbal supplements for a week. Although I had one "high" AHI night of 2.6, the rest of the nights have continued to be at or below 1.0, and I feel generally pretty well rested. But there too there's not always a tight correspondence between AHI and how rested I feel. On the whole, though, I'm not seeing enough of a correlation to make me think the supplements are not producing a strong effect. That said, I'll probably cycle back on next week anyway, just to continue the experiment.

Last night, with no supplements, my AHI was .3 and I slept for 8:42 hours. I never sleep that long!
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#10
(09-21-2017, 10:23 AM)tmoody Wrote: Update: As indicated in a previous post in this thread, I've cycled off the herbal supplements for a week. Although I had one "high" AHI night of 2.6, the rest of the nights have continued to be at or below 1.0, and I feel generally pretty well rested. But there too there's not always a tight correspondence between AHI and how rested I feel. On the whole, though, I'm not seeing enough of a correlation to make me think the supplements are not producing a strong effect. That said, I'll probably cycle back on next week anyway, just to continue the experiment.

Last night, with no supplements, my AHI was .3 and I slept for 8:42 hours. I never sleep that long!
I find your posts most interesting as I struggle with some of the same issues that you've mentioned.  I have no wish to hi-jack your thread, but may I ask a question?  Have you considered the effects of a wheat free diet?  I ask because I recently came across a website that suggested if a person was having 'digestive' issues that they might want to abstain from wheat based food.  This is a new concept to me and I'm trying to find out if it might benefit me.  Some nights I have great numbers and my ahi is low.  Other nights my numbers are just plain awful.

I'm following your thread and wish you the best.
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